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6. From Forgetfulness To Fruitfulness: Joseph’s Rise To Power (Genesis 41:37-57)

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We move on in the story of Joseph to a crucial turning point in his life. Now he will have the opportunity to make something of his life for God – but that will depend on his attitude. His attitude will determine whether he advances or stagnates, whether he puts the past behind him or lives in its shadow, whether he speaks for God or is silent out of fear. Now he can either take advantage of the opportunities God gives him or he can become paralyzed with the hardships he has already suffered and never do anything meaningful for God.

The subject in this study is: “Controlling your attitude”. You can consciously control your attitude in order to be effective for God. The overall principle in this segment of Joseph’s life is that... “when life is painful, you can choose to forget the past and be fruitful for God in the future.”

I. To Be Fruitful For God, We Need To Speak Boldly For Him (Gen. 41:37-40): Pharaoh Adopts Joseph’s Proposal

Following Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream and his suggested action plan, Pharaoh liked what he heard. “The advice was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants” (41:37). He obviously believed Joseph’s interpretation of his dream and that convinced him to accept Joseph’s proposed action plan. And who better to carry out that action plan than the interpreter of the dreams himself. “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?” (41:38). The rhetorical answer is: “No! There is no one quite like him.”

More importantly, Pharaoh recognized and acknowledged that Joseph’s abilities (both practical and spiritual) came from God – the Spirit of God was in him. This could not be said of the wise men of Egypt, who had utterly failed the test but Joseph had passed with flying colors. What Joseph had promised had come true – “It is not me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer” (41:16).

Now Pharaoh joins all the others who put their trust in Joseph. Just as Potiphar had promoted Joseph over his whole household, so now Pharaoh promotes Joseph over the whole land. Just as the prison warden had committed all the prisoners to Joseph’s supervision and care, so now Pharaoh commits all the people of Egypt to Joseph’s supervision and care. Just as the chief butler had recommended Joseph for his ability to interpret dreams, so now Pharaoh recognizes Joseph’s abilities to govern Egypt. But more than that, Pharaoh recognized and acknowledged that Joseph’s abilities were divine in origin. Joseph is a man “in whom is the Spirit of God.” Nothing like this could ever be said of the wise men of Egypt – they had nothing to offer. But what Joseph offered was a direct result of his spirituality. What greater commendation can be made of anyone?

Should not people say the same of us? Is this not the highest approbation we can receive when others notice that the Spirit of God is in us? Is this not how we should live in such a way that others attribute our abilities and character to God? Do others see that in us? When they see our actions, our attitudes, our relationships, our values, our ethics, do they attribute them to the indwelling of the Spirit of God? Do our lives point others to God? Or, do we attract attention to ourselves?

Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.” And Pharaoh said to Joseph, ‘See I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” (41:39-41).

How much higher are God’s ways and thoughts than ours. Joseph had hoped that the chief butler would have secured his freedom to go back to his old position in Potiphar’s house. But now, he would go to a much higher position in Pharaoh’s house, as ruler of the land! This was far beyond anything the chief butler could have done for Joseph. Was the 2 year wait hard? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes! The time and circumstances had to be just right for this to happen. God’s timing and his ordering of our circumstances are always right.

Our challenge is to let God be God and order our lives according to his providential ways for our good. Notice these details of God’s sovereign care and control:

1. God ensured that Pharaoh needed Joseph! He needed Joseph to interpret this dream. His own wise men were totally inadequate and useless. Joseph was the only one who could solve the riddle. And he needed Joseph to solve a real and urgent problem - what to do about the impending disaster.

2. God created Pharaoh’s need. God had caused Pharaoh to have these dreams. God had rendered the wise men incapable and useless, so that Joseph stood out head and shoulders above them by comparison.

3. God provided Pharaoh’s solution. The man he needed was right in front of him. “Can we find such a one as this?... There is no one so discerning and wise as you.” There wasn’t anyone else in the whole of the Egyptian kingdom who could come close to Joseph, and Pharaoh knew it.

4. God orchestrated Pharaoh’s response. Pharaoh didn’t turn to Potiphar or his other senior officers. Instead, under the providential ordering of God, he turned to Joseph, God’s man – (a) without having had any experience with Joseph’s leadership; (b) without requiring Joseph to prove himself (no probationary period); (c) without concern for Joseph’s recent incarceration as an accused rapist who was imprisoned for an indeterminate sentence with no chance of parole; (d) without requiring Joseph to take out Egyptian citizenship even.

Pharaoh could have minimized or ridiculed what Joseph said. He could have written off Joseph’s interpretation as being a melodramatic, trumped up, highly imaginative interpretation. After all, wasn’t Egypt the world power? Wasn’t Egypt prosperous and secure? But, God opened his understanding to the reality and truth of the dreams and to the realization that only Joseph could solve the problem.

How much higher are God’s ways and thoughts than ours! We cannot fathom the ways of God nor can we contemplate the thoughts of God. As the apostle Paul puts it: “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and his ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counsellor? ... For of him and through him and to him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:33-34). Or, as the prophet Isaiah puts it: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD (Isa. 55:8).

We need to learn to trust the Lord’s ways and thoughts. “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:11-13). Again in Isaiah: “... those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isa. 40:31). And again in Romans: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). Do we really believe that?

So, suddenly, Joseph’s life changes and he has authority over all Egypt; only Pharaoh was higher than he. What a dramatic turn of events! What a roller coaster ride from Potiphar’s house to Pharaoh court; from prison to parliament; from obscurity to notoriety; from false accusation to true recognition. I wonder what he must have thought about his life so far. Was he beginning to see the big picture? Could he see a pattern here? Was his life beginning to make sense? Could he see how God was working? Did the pain of betrayal, false accusation, and mistreatment begin to blend into the background of God’s sovereign ways? Did he now realize that all the events that had transpired so far in his life were part of a bigger plan? Could he now see the future with clarity?

When Joseph was suddenly promoted by Pharaoh he must have pumped a little fist: “Yes! Finally!” All of sudden he must have seen the culmination of his dreams of greatness from 13 years ago. All of a sudden he was vindicated! Dreams do come true! The dreams he had had so many years before were a revelation from God and not the stomach flu!

II. When We Speak Boldly For God, He Opens Up Opportunities We Never Dreamed Of (Gen. 41:41-45): Joseph’s Appointment And Authority

Pharaoh is convinced of Joseph’s suitability for this position. First, because Joseph had demonstrated his spiritual power by interpreting dreams with 100% accuracy. That’s a spiritual power that no one else in the kingdom had. No wonder Pharaoh concluded that the Spirit of God was in him.

And second, because Joseph had demonstrated his practical skills. He had served Potiphar well when he was in charge of his house (39:4). He had served the prison keeper well when he was in charge of the prisoners (39:22). So, now Pharaoh sets Joseph over the whole land. “See I have set you over all the land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand and he clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. And he had him ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried out before him, “Bow the knee!” So he set him over all the land of Egypt” (41:41-43).

Joseph is endowed with privilege, power, and prestige. That’s what high ranking government official have.

1. Joseph had royal privilege. He rode in his own private chariot from Pharaoh’s collection, just like having the presidential seal on the side, or like having the ER II emblem on the side. His royal privileges extended to private body guards who went ahead of his chariot, clearing the way of any security risks or demonstrators or hindrances (41:43).

2. Joseph had dictatorial power. The extent of his power was total. It stretched from Pharaoh’s house and to all the people of Egypt. He was set “over the whole land of Egypt” (41:41). He would “rule” over the entire land; his word was final (41:40). He was the king’s vice regent. First, his power was authorized and sealed with the gift of Pharaoh’s “signet ring” (41:42). This gave Joseph financial and legal authority. He could seal all the official documents with this ring. He was now the king’s official right hand man with all the power that went with that position. He could sign documents and authorize actions just as though the king was doing it himself. Second, his power was evident in his “garments of fine linen” (41:42). Now he had a wardrobe fit for a king: it went with the position. Fine linen was the most expensive Egyptian fabric (cotton). Third, his power was displayed in the “gold chain around his neck” (41:42). This was the symbol of power and wealth and position. Joseph had full and complete political power. There was no one was greater than he in the land, except Pharaoh himself. No one had more authority than he, except Pharaoh himself. Pharaoh said, “I am Pharaoh and without your consent no man may lift his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt” (41:44). That’s incredible power and position and privilege.

Not only was Joseph the most powerful man in Egypt under the king, but he was also the most powerful political ruler in the known world!

3. Joseph had presidential prestige. He rode in a royal chariot and his own front men cleared the way and demanded that people “bow the knee” before him. This was the height of prestige and pomp. And on top of all this…

4. Joseph had a cultural identification (41:45). First, Pharaoh gives Joseph a new, Egyptian name – “Zaphenath-Paneah.” Among the various translations of Joseph’s new name, “the God who speaks and lives” seems to be the most common. While the reference to “God” might refer to the Egyptian gods (“Nath” was an Egyptian goddess), nonetheless, perhaps Pharaoh was recognizing Joseph’s God who had enabled Joseph to interpret his dreams – “the God who speaks and lives.” So, perhaps this was a clever way for Pharaoh to acknowledge Joseph’s God while at the same time giving Joseph a more acceptable Egyptian name.

Second, Pharaoh gives Joseph a new Egyptian wife – “Asenath, daughter of Poti-Phera, priest of On” (41:45). I suppose Pharaoh would have concluded in his pagan logic that Joseph should have a religious wife, in keeping with Joseph’s religious bent. This woman’s name includes the same reference to “nath” and her father was a priest. So, Joseph was solidly identified with Egypt, even though he probably would not have chosen this way of doing it. As Gene Getz observes: “Together this couple not only represented the king of Egypt but deity as well. Their name would constantly remind people of their religious position in the kingdom” (Getz, 104).

III. When God Opens Up Opportunities, He Gives Us The Ability We Need (Gen. 41:46-57): Joseph Puts His Plan Into Action

Notice that the narrator repeats: “Joseph went over all the land of Egypt (vv. 45 and 46) doing what a new prime minister does - getting to know his country and his people. And between these two clauses is sandwiched the statement that “Joseph was 30 years old when he stood before Pharaoh the king of Egypt” (41:46). By structuring the story this way, the narrator is forcing us to ask some questions:

1. Would a young man of 30 years old with no governing experience be able to govern this vast, new country? Would the people respect him? Would he have the knowledge? Would he be able to handle the power?

2. Would a young man of 30 with no political experience be able to deal with the country’s worst economic recession? What would he do? Would he carry out his own advice? How would he administer this program? Will his God who interprets dreams also enable him to deliver them from the famine?

3. Would a young man of 30 be able to handle the position with its privilege, pressure, power, and prestige? Will he fall flat on his face? Will he be trapped by pride? Will he squander this opportunity?

The narrator has given us some pointers for the answers. First, Joseph had already proven that he was a survivor. Through God’s protection and deliverance he has already survived the depths of rejection in a pit. He has already survived the shame of slavery. He has already risen from slavery to Potiphar’s estate manager. He has already survived sexual temptation by the boss’ wife. He has already survived prison life and behaved admirably. He has already risen from a prisoner in general population to the prison supervisor.

This is a man who has faced numerous enormous obstacles in his short life and has come out smelling like a rose, or, to coin a biblical phrase, “like gold refined in the fire”(Rev. 3:18; cf. 1 Pet. 1:7). Severe testing was Joseph’s strong point. He evidently had nerves of steel. He evidently had the smarts to withstand extreme pressure. He evidently had the courage to face obstacles head on. He evidently had the confidence in God to carry him through. He evidently had the right attitude to survive, not becoming bitter or wallowing in self-pity but always being willing to leave things with God and move on.

So, first, one pointer as to whether Joseph was up to the job was that he had already proven himself to be a survivor. And another key (and the primary) factor is that God was with Joseph. Here is the key to understanding the whole of Joseph’s variegated life. Remember our thesis of this study: No matter what others may have meant for evil, God meant it for good.” God had been weaving together the multi-colored strands of his life to produce a beautiful tapestry that no multi-colored coat could equal or portray.

Let’s consider now how this applies to our own lives:

1. We need to be constantly aware of the providence of God in our lives. This is what helps us to deal with disappointments, false accusations, injustice. This is what keeps us going through the hard times.

2. We need to be convinced of God’s role for us in life. If we are living in obedience and using the gifts he has given us, then that gives us assurance during hard times. Joseph knew that his dreams would come true. Undoubtedly that’s what kept him going, even though he may have had his moments of doubts and questions. But there were significant purposes for his testing:

a) So that he would mature spiritually, physically, and emotionally.

b) So that he could gain valuable experience – e.g. managing Potiphar’s estate, supervising prisoners.

c) So that when the time came, Pharaoh would know that he was the only man who could solve his problem.

d) So that he could experience God’s sustaining grace in the most desperate of circumstances, which grace would stand by him during the hard leadership years ahead.

e) So that he would learn to wait on and trust God.

f) So that he would know without a doubt that God was working on his behalf carrying out his purposes.

g) So that his perseverance would be fully developed, for he would certainly need it in the years to come.

While we wait, let’s do so in the confidence that God is working out his purposes in our lives. He hasn’t forgotten about us nor has he cast us aside. Getting us prepared and ready for the next stage in life is all part of God’s purposes for us. So, consider the times of waiting, of mistreatment, of false accusations etc.. to be all part of God’s preparation of us.

Joseph now has to prove that he can do the job and that the plan will work (Gen. 41:47-57). As Joseph predicted, there were 7 years of plenty (41:47-49). And Joseph executes the plan exactly as he had described it to Pharaoh. If you don’t have a plan, one thing is for certain, you’ll never achieve it. “Plan your work and work your plan” was a motto that Joseph followed. So, he organized the storage of the excess crops during these 7 plentiful years. Just as he had said, the “ground brought forth abundantly” (41:47). And in every city, Joseph put in storage food from the surrounding fields (41:48). In fact, he “gathered very much grain as the sand of the sea until he stopped counting, for it was immeasurable” (41:49). That’s how productive and fruitful the crops were, like the grains of sand on the sea shore, immeasurably abundant.

When God carries out his promises, he does so in abundance so that there is no doubt that this is from God; so that no one could question the connection between these 7 years of plenty and Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream. In Paul’s words, “so that the excellence of the power may of God and not of us” ( 2 Cor. 4:7).

This doesn’t mean that Joseph escaped criticism. Even though it was obvious to any casual observer that this was the direct result of Joseph’s prediction, there were probably those who grumbled and criticized him. I can hear them now, saying: “Why can’t we eat this food and enjoy it while it lasts. Who says there are going to be 7 bad years - no one knows the future? This man’s nothing but a dictator, on a power trip.” These are the kind of comments, complaints, and criticism that leaders have to deal with.

Then, after the seven years of plenty, as Joseph predicted, came the 7 bad years (41:53-57). The entire known, inhabited world was thrown into economic and social chaos as the famine spread. After year 1, I can hear some people saying: “Well, we’ve had years like this before. I remember 1936 when the sun was so hot we fried eggs on the steps of the town hall.” Or, “The climate has always gone in cycles. This is nothing new – this too shall pass.” Or, “We’ve had droughts as long as I can remember. In fact western Canada has experienced multi-year episodes in the 1890s, 1910s, 1930s, 1960s, 1980s, and the early 2000’s. So, this is no big deal. We’ll get through this. In fact, we’ll come out of this stronger than ever. We know how to look after ourselves. We don’t need this power-monger in Cairo telling us what to do.”

But as year followed year without any abating of the famine, there was one difference between Egypt and the rest of the world: “The famine was in all the lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread” (41:54).

So, year 1 was followed by year 2 and by year 2 by year 3. By now the people were hungry. Children are crying to their parents for food. Old people were languishing from lack of nourishment. Households were desperate all across Egypt and around the world. “So when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. Then Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, ‘Go to Joseph; whatever he says to you, do’” (41:55). Joseph had both the responsibility and authority for administering the program for the entire country

How much trust Pharaoh expressed here in Joseph! “He’s my man! Talk to him! He’s got the plan!” It’s almost as if Pharaoh said to the people: “Look, don’t call me; go to Joseph.” Actually, Pharaoh knew that only Joseph and Joseph’s God could pull them through this crisis for “The famine was over all the face of the earth and Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians. And the famine became severe in the land of Egypt” (41:56).

Well, Joseph’s food bank program worked flawlessly. But human nature being what it is there must have been enormous challenges facing Joseph, like how to maintain honesty and fairness among people desperate for food. He probably had to deal with food lines that erupted in fist fights, people trying to steal food for the black market, and how to handle illegal immigrants who were sneaking across the Israeli border into Egypt looking for food, for “all countries came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, because the famine was severe in all lands” (41:57).

Joseph was dealing with a worldwide famine. All eyes were on him. The survival of millions of people depended on his program. Where do you think that Joseph first learned how to handle this kind of administration (albeit on a smaller scale)? That’s right, in Potiphar’s household (no small task) and in prison where he supervised all the prisoners (no small task). Now he is “set over all the land of Egypt” (41:41) and Pharaoh is directing people to deal with him alone – and whatever he tells you to do, just do it (Maybe that where Nike got there line from – “just do it”)

Now while all of this is going on Joseph’s family expands (41:50-52). In between these two paragraphs (vv. 47-49 and vv. 53-57), the narrator tells us about Joseph’s family life. While the food bank program is in its first stage (storing food for later), Joseph’s family expands. “Before the year of the famine came... Joseph had two sons” (41:50). He was “making proverbial hay while the sun shines.” Soon he would have no time for this. His firstborn son he names Manasseh: “For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house” (41:51). Isn’t that great! This must surely be the key to Joseph’s survival - his attitude! All the pain and suffering of the last 13 years he puts behind him. All the rejection by his father’s house he puts behind him. Now he has his own life to live and nothing of the past is going to hold him back. God had removed the sting of the past and he has moved on.

How can he do this? The name of his firstborn sons tells us: “For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house” (41:51). He attributes it all to the grace of God. He didn’t do it – God did. He knew exactly that in the eyes of God he was elect and precious, and nothing was going to rob him of that.

So many people can’t ever get out of what Bunyan called “the slough of despond.” Their past haunts them like a never-ending nightmare. They know where they want to run but can’t. They never get past asking, “Why me?” They never get past searching for answers. They never enjoy what God has provided for the present – forgiveness, peace, joy, family, friends etc. They never look forward to what God has for the future. They live their lives constantly digging around in the attic of their past with all its skeletons and bad memories.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t reflect on the past, we should, but not to dwell on it, not to stay there. But rather to turn bad into good, to rid ourselves of any bitterness, or malice, to see how the experience of the past can shape our thinking, attitudes, behavior, and relationships for good going forward. I don’t want to diminish the pain of those experiences – they are tragic and painful. I have had them; I know. I know how painful it felt when my father criticized me and cut me out of his life for many years. He even quoted 2 Cor. 13:5 to me, doubting my salvation, all because I was not adhering to the church tradition he was. And this just when I was about to enter the most spiritually fruitful time of my life! Anyway, I decided to move on past that – not live there; not dwell on something for which he was responsible, not me. And while I don’t have the capacity to consciously forget something, I can live in the control of God’s Spirit, not in the control of my memory. I decided that my life would not be ruined by someone else’s distorted thinking. I can live in the joy of God’s abounding grace and not in the pain of the past. The whole point of salvation is that we are new creatures in Christ, “the old is gone, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17).

Joseph named his second son Ephraim: “For God has cause me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction (41:52). Unbelievable! What a wonderful attitude! What emotional healing had taken place without a psychiatrist, counsellor, or self-help group! It was all of God.

What a transformation that would make in our country if our leading politicians lived in such consciousness of God. And if we can just get this notion through our heads, our whole attitude to life would change too. You can make a conscious choice how you live your life. You can decide to spend your life trapped in the past, wallowing in despair and self-pity, or you can spend your life living in the joy of the Lord, being “fruitful” for him “in the land of your affliction.” By the grace of God you can turn sorrow into joy. You can turn barrenness into fruitfulness for God. It’s your choice. You decide whether you want your to life to count for something for eternity or not. You decide what kind of legacy you want to leave behind. You decide whether to live looking in the rear view mirror or looking ahead through the windshield of the future. It’s all a matter of attitude – it’s your choice. And by the grace of God you can change your attitude.

Remember out thesis for this study: “When life is painful you can choose to forget the past and be fruitful for God in the future.” You can go like Joseph “from forgetfulness to fruitfulness.” Joseph had turned his back on the past and was using all of the talents and opportunities God had given him to make a difference now, to be fruitful now, even in “the land of his affliction.” By God’s grace you can turn away from the past and face the brightness of God’s future in Christ and make your life count for God.

FINAL REMARKS

Well, even though most of us will not experience this rags-to-riches story of Joseph, we will benefit from the same principles as he did.

1. You can endure significant, lengthy trials by God’s grace, even betrayal, false accusations, and injustice. For 13 long years Joseph’s life was the pits. It must have seemed like eternity until his life turned a corner. But despite the suffering and the length of time, Joseph did not lose hope in God. He may have been a slave in Egypt but he did not become a slave to the past or to self-pity. He may have been a prisoner in Egypt but he did not become a prisoner to doubt or discouragement.

2. You can be free from the burden of bad memories. While you cannot erase your memories (only God can consciously forget), you can be free from their burden. You do not need to be controlled by bad memories; they need not defeat you or hold you captive. By God’s sustaining and liberating grace and mercy you can consciously choose whom you will serve. Like Joseph, “when life is painful, you can choose to forget the past and be fruitful for God in the future.”

Paul says this: “Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey?” (Rom. 6:16). You can choose whether you want to be a slave to bad memories, bad experiences, bad relationships, bad friends, bad behavior, bad habits. You can choose whether to occupy your thoughts with good things – those things that “are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report” (Phil. 4:8) – or with bad things. If you can’t do it on your own, then find a mentor or professional counsellor who can help you deal with it, but don’t spend your life tormented by the past.

3. Don’t let the past hold you back from serving God now. Joseph could have easily pleaded inability (emotional, psychological, experiential etc.) to step into the position that God opened up for him, but he didn’t. Instead he stepped out in the boldness of faith which God supplied, trusting God for daily ability, strength etc. Like Joseph, “when life is painful, you can choose to forget the past and be fruitful for God in the future.” So many people fail to use their lives productively for God because something in the past haunts them. This is the work of Satan and not of God.

4. Let the past experiences prepare you to persevere. Joseph had seen the hardship of a lifetime by the time he was 30 years old - favoritism, rejection by family, mistreatment, injustice, false accusations, betrayal. But instead of that crippling him it enabled him to face the future, it strengthened him to meet obstacles head on. In all the tests and trials that lay ahead in his life nothing would daunt him, discourage him, or deter him. His sufferings had truly taught him to persevere. The Hebrew Christians were becoming discouraged with opposition and suffering, so much so that they were in danger of quitting their Christianity. So, the writer of Hebrews spurs them on: “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Heb. 10:36). It says of Moses that he “persevered because he saw him who is invisible” (Heb. 11:27). Writing to encourage the Thessalonians, Paul says: “We boast of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure” (2 Thess. 1:4). James says: “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4). And Peter says: “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love” (2 Pet 1:5-7).

It’s all a matter of attitude, and you can control that. Satan wants you to give up but you can choose to be fruitful in the land of your affliction. Let us make our past experiences of hardship and suffering and bad memories the building block for future fruitfulness rather than the depth charge of despair and doubt.

Related Topics: Character Study, Christian Life

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